Monthly Archives: March 2012

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Believe it or not, I’m still feeling fairly under the weather almost a week after coming down with the flu. Last week, I somehow “mailed in” the Idelic Hour from bed. Although I’m somewhat better, this week in many ways has been just as rough.

But we all know what it’s like to be under the weather and still have to go on stage (so to speak). Those of us neck deep in rock ‘n roll know the “the show must go on!”

As a teen, I remember sneaking backstage (or I should say upstairs) at Max Kansas City. To revive himself, Johnny Thunders had filled the sink up with water and dunked his head in before taking the stage. It’s a technique I later used for my own band and now for this week’s Idelic Hour.

Still sick and shaking it off is what this week’s Idelic Hour is about. The set is a playlist of cool records, some new, most old—a bunch of cuts about being sick and lyrics that attracted me even when I had a headache.

This is also the season for new releases. Check the mix for a couple: Lower Dens, Cloud Nothings, Violens, The Neighbourhood, and Lost In The Trees.

Clear heads and sunny skies on the horizon!

The Idelic Hit of the Week:
Lost In The Trees – Neither Here Nor There

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Dance for the Dying:
The TVD First Date

“We are Dance for the Dying and this is our love letter to vinyl.”

Brad, Bass + Synth | “I’m still psyched when I see a new record store open up. I like going through bins at the Goodwill or Salvation Army – where I can find out of print records by never heard of artists. I like that record store owners can curate the shop with all the stuff they want people to hear. And I love listening to music that is mixed and mastered for vinyl.

But beyond that I love the way vinyl showcases a complete album. It can give the artist parameters to put serious thought into the mood and flow of the record. There can be a clear vibe to each side, and in turn an arc that each side can take. With records, there’s no worry that the meta-data might mess up and re-order everything. No worry that the song will be purchased out of its context.

I’m not hating on mp3s, but I like the way a record interacts with you. It tells you by scratching and skipping that its time to be flipped. Except in the case of Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music,” where it just goes on forever in a locked noisy groove.”

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My life as a professional Chiltonologist and grave-robbing ghoul by Ross Johnson

I missed the premiere of the Big Star documentary, Nothing Can Hurt Me, along with the live redux of Sister Lovers / Third featuring Jody Stephens and Chris Stamey at SXSW a few days back. I was slated to perform with Memphis band Cloudland Canyon, but a last minute hissy fit and health problems helped me to keep my pledge to never play that nightmarish event again.

However, I was interviewed for the film a couple of years ago after Alex Chilton died, and, according to some of those who saw the cut of the documentary shown in Austin, I was described generously as comedic relief. I hope I was not described onscreen as Alex’s friend in the movie because the truth is that we were ex-friends for the last several decades of his life for numerous personal and professional lapses on my part.

Since his death, I have done quite a few other film and print interviews re: the late Mr. Chilton for other films in production about him currently, plus magazine articles and even a full-length biography to be printed by a reputable New York publisher. And with each interview, I feel just a bit more sleazy and uneasy about repeating what are now becoming clichéd, formulaic answers to easily anticipated questions. Recently, my (ex-?)girlfriend called me a “grave-robbing ghoul” re: the interviews about Alex that I am shamelessly doing now (hence the headline above). And I can’t disagree with her much on that score.

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Posted in TVD Memphis | 2 Comments

A preshow latte
with Jesse Michaels
of Classics of Love

Classics of Love frontman Jesse Michaels is a few hours away from playing a sold-out show at Black Cat with Bomb the Music Industry and Mike Park. I meet up with him at the obnoxiously loud Starbucks around the corner, with the hope that this crap tape recorder picks up his soothingly measured voice and omits my incoherent, nervous stuttering.

It turns out this tape recorder is amazing, perhaps even magical! I can even hear the noise of my angry glares at the barista as he blares the frappaccino machine. Everyone who needs to conduct an interview and doesn’t trust electronic devices, buy this tape recorder. It is Jesse Michaels-approved. He even reassures me several times before we start that it is a great machine, and he actually uses the same model.

Michaels has a contagiously laid-back demeanor I can only describe as Berkeleyan Serenity. He says he has just sampled the infamous Ben’s Chili Bowl. A great choice for lovers of junk food, perhaps not so great when you are hours away from jumping around the stage while sweating and screaming into a mic. I feel slightly guilty for the recommendation, but roll the tape and quickly ask what he likes to listen to on the road.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

TVD’s 10 Weeks of Record Store Day Vinyl Giveaways: Nirvana, Incesticide

TVD recently gave away a copy of NevermindNirvana’s breakthrough album, as part of our 10 Weeks of Record Store Day Vinyl Giveaways. This time around, we’re giving away another album featuring the music of the Seattle grunge band, a copy of Incesticide, the compilation album released by the band in 1992.

The album, a collection of band rarities, features live performances, demo recordings, and previously unreleased material. Among the songs on Incesticide are “Hairspray Queen,” “Aneurysm,” and a newer version of “Been a Son.” Also on the album are covers of Devo and The Vaselines, as well as one of my favorite Nirvana songs, “Sliver,” which was originally released as a non-album single in 1990.

Hitting shelves less than two years after the aforementioned NevermindIncesticide gives listeners an opportunity to see Nirvana’s origins. While Nevermind has more of a polished sound, Incesticide has noticeably minimal production and captures the stripped down, grunge-tinged sound that defines the band. Notably, the album artwork was painted by lead singer Kurt Cobain himself.

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Weekend Shots!

Looking for some live music in Chicago this weekend? We’ve got you covered. Check out this weekend’s featured show along with a more extensive weekend list below!

MILAGRES at Schuba’s, 4/1

New York’s Milagres was almost shut down before it began. Singer/songwriter Kyle Wilson ready to call it quits when he ended up bedridden with a back injury. During the months of recovery, Kyle began to write and re-imagine the band. With his new vision of Milagres, Wilson reformed the band under the influence of piano melodies and dreamy falsettos. They began to work on what would become the group’s debut record, Glowing Mouth.

Glowing Mouth was released on Kill Rock Stars in October, and you can pick up a vinyl copy online for just $15.

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Weekend Shots,
Final Four Edition!

It never ends in New Orleans. It’s festival season and there is a ton of music happening around town. Here are my tips for where to catch the best.

Woldenberg Park on the riverfront in the French Quarter will be hosting concerts all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This being a NCAA-sponsored event in conjunction with the Final Four college basketball championship being played in the Mercedes Benz Superdome (first time I have written that!), there are some big names scheduled. KISS headlines Friday, the Black Keys on Saturday and Jimmy Buffett on Sunday.

But in between, there are some intriguing options. Get up early for the Funky Meters on Saturday at 11:45 AM and Dr. John plays on Sunday at 4:30 PM.

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Show of the Week: GrowMemphis Benefit at The Hi-Tone, 3/31

This Saturday March 31st, local nonprofit GrowMemphis is having a benefit concert at the Hi-Tone featuring Wuvbirds, Jeffrey James & the Haul, The Near Reaches and Chris Milam.

GrowMemphis “fosters the creation of robust community food systems that eliminate hunger, promote health, and further social justice. We envision a Memphis and Shelby County with a healthy and sustainable agricultural economy and where all residents have enough good food on the table.”

Definitely a great cause. JD Reager, a director for both GrowMemphis and Makeshift Music, is organizing the show.

Doors at 8pm. $5 with all proceeds going to GrowMemphis. 18+. Go support a great local nonprofit!

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Fans of summery classic pop, and anyone who bought the last Real Estate album are directed to Lightships, the new musical project from Teenage Fanclub stalwart Gerard Love.

The band have announced some gigs in support of their poptastic new 45 (yes, glorious 7” vinyl) “Sweetness In Her Spark” and the forthcoming album Electric Cables, which is released next Monday, April 2nd. The aforementioned track is fast becoming a contender for Vinyl District UK track of the year.

The single is backed by a cover of “Do Your Thing,” written by avant-garde composer, instrument inventor, and famous Viking enthusiast Moondog.

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The Line Up with Star
& Micey, Nic Cowan, One Less Reason, and more

Well, hey there, Memphis! This week might have seemed way too long and full of allergies, but never fear! Winds of change are blowing through the city bringing with them plenty of great music to go out and see.

Dust off your favorite party hat—this weekend is going to provide you with ample reason to get buck!

Thursday (3/29) will act as the perfect opener to an awesome weekend. Fresh off a recording stint with world famous producer Dennis Herring, Star & Micey will be performing new pop bliss and old crowd favorites at The Young Avenue Deli. Coming off of a stellar showcase at SXSW and with an EP on the way, this band is definitely one to watch in 2012! The best part is, the evening doesn’t stop there! The Black Cadillacs will also be taking the stage with their reputation for remarkable musicianship. Also billed are the Americana-soaked sounds of Tom Evanchuck. If you have a thing for guitars and songs bursting at the seams with folksy goodness, you have to be in attendance!

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A Rare Snapshot of College Radio in the ’70s: Aerosmith

A few years ago, I struck vinyl gold while living in Dallas, TX. A friend of mine from Good Records, Chris Penn aka DJ Cee Pee, put together two boxes of hand-picked metal records for me. He had just picked up several hundred used records from a Dallas college radio station as they were throwing them out and going digital. 

Although many of the classic albums included had some pretty good wear going on with the sleeves, the actual vinyl was in excellent condition. It was a vast selection of ’70s and ’80s metal, a gift from the vinyl gods above.

Back in the ’70s, college radio stations would put notes on the front of each record with comments from other DJs at the station along with a description of the band. Reading these notes today can be quite entertaining, as you’re about to see. Here are two gems from Aerosmith, along with the original notes and comments from the DJs themselves.

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Posted in TVD San Francisco | 2 Comments

Bayou Boogaloo Fundraiser tonight, 3/29

The good folks that bring you the annual festival on the banks of Bayou St. John are hosting a patron party and fundraiser tonight to help support the free event.

Despite New Orleans basically escaping most of the effects of the recession, local festivals still have to pay talent, support services and everything else that is involved in presenting a three-day premier festival that remains FREE. In order to do so, the Mothership Foundation taps every possible source of income. Tonight is your chance to give a little back and help keep the Bayou Boogaloo free.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Dambuilders, Encendedor

Many may only remember them for their 1994 alterna-hit “Shrine”, but The Dambuilders were much more than just a brief flash in the pan. Their breakthrough album Encendedor holds up as one of the better examples of ‘90s indie-rock at the crossroads of heaviness and melodicism, and with electric violin to boot.

From Boston Massachusetts via Honolulu Hawaii, The Dambuilders were one of many ‘90s bands that chose to explore a vaguely Pixies-like model of volume, distortion, and catchiness. This naturally captured the interest of legions who were burning out with due quickness on all things grunge. But what additionally assisted this band in standing apart from the pack was their commitment to strong songwriting and the powerful violin playing of Joan Wasser. Her ability to provide much of their music with a tough rhythmic bedrock while also adding fleet, at times soaring melodic elements aided greatly in distinguishing tunes that were already much more than just another batch of recalculated Doolittle.

But The Dambuilders started out as a rather different and much lesser affair. Their 1989 debut A Young Persons Guide, essentially a demo by founding members Dave Derby, Tryan George, and Eric Masunaga that managed to get released by the German label Cuacha, found the band examining the milder territories of college-pop; a little bit of Athens and a wee mite of New Jersey with a few innocuous punkisms, some acoustic strum and even a little Camper-esque humor thrown in. By no means an embarrassment, it was however an inauspicious beginning. If it had somehow been the only release by the band they would frankly register as something less than a footnote.

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TVD Live: Music City Mayhem Awards at
The Rutledge, 3/24

As a community, we tend to overemphasize this, but it’s important for all to know… Nashville is more than just Country music. The city is flourishing with genres galore and exceptionally skilled musicians to boot.

There is a big Rock scene here, but it seems to be divided into groups. There’s the Indie crowd that caters to softer, organic Rock and Garage Rock, and then, there’s the bands you might hear on corporate Rock radio, if given their big break.

For one reason or another, the latter tends to get less media attention than the Indie world, so I decided to check out the Music City Mayhem Awards last Saturday night at The Rutledge, an event put on by Dungeon Promotions, as a way to recognize and reward local Hard Rock and Metal bands.

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Bear Cavalry:
The TVD First Date

“All I remember from the early days about vinyl is that my dad had loads and it was an exciting occasion (or seemed like one to me at the time) whenever one made it onto the turntable in the living room.”

“The first actual record I took an interest in was Jeff Wayne’s music version of War Of The Worlds when I was in juniors at school. They had one of the tracks playing as everyone walked into assembly one day and I remember it really creeped me out, in the way that kids like being creeped out, by way of the sinister little noises and the dramatic dynamics, as well as the overall epicness of it all lodging itself firmly in my mind.

I’m not sure how it came about, I was probably humming it loads or something, but my dad caught on that I was into it. So the first memory I have of vinyl is sitting with his massive headphones on, listening to a horrifying account of how the world narrowly escaped being overrun by aliens.

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